It’s the fight every boxing fan wants and it appears Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury will finally happen later this year.
Joshua produced a stunning win to end 2020 as champion by destroying Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena in brutal style.
AJ welcomed a fight with Fury in the aftermath of his superb victory.
The Gypsy King, who claimed his own incredible win in February against Deontay Wilder, is now ready to take on his British rival in 2021.
Here’s what we know about the historic match-up so far…
Joshua v Fury: When could it happen?
Fury was expected to face Germany’s Agit Kabayelhe in December but that was abandoned and he has said he will now not return to the ring until some time in early 2021.
Wilder has called on Fury to ‘honour his agreement’ for a third fight, but the Brit insists he is ready to pursue a different path.
It is expected that Joshua v Fury have already agreed a two-fight deal with the first coming in the summer and the second at some time in winter 2021.
The financial terms state that the first bout will be a 50/50 purse split, while the rematch will be a 60/40 split in favour of whomever wins the first.
Joshua v Fury: What has been said?
Anthony Joshua has stated he DOES want Tyson Fury next, and promoter Eddie Hearn has said negotiations are progressing well.
After beating Pulev, AJ said: “I’ve been chasing the belts since I started this. It’s not about the man, it’s about the belt and the legacy. If it’s Tyson Fury with the WBC belt, then let it be Tyson Fury.”
Hearn said: “We are close, contracts have been going backwards and forwards.
“The main thing is to get an agreement in place but we are in a very difficult period right now where we don’t know where we can get crowds for that time of year, May or June.
“The first thing to do is agree terms in full and then to go out and secure a date and venue for that fight.
“Things have been progressing really well, with things like terms and agreements.
“And I really believe you will see that fight at the end of May or early June in 2021. Everyone is working well and in the right direction.”
Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury gets major boost as mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk hints he might STEP ASIDE
Meanwhile, Fury has said: “Let’s hope this fight happens. I’m willing to take the fight, I don’t know if they are.
“I’ve been willing to take the fight for the last five years, it’s not happened so far but I’m very optimistic it will happen in 2021.”
On his message for Joshua, Fury replied: “Grow a pair and sign the contract, big boy.
“I’m not just saying it because he’s gonna be a rival of mine and he’s gonna be one of my opponents, but I’ve always said for a long time that I do believe Anthony Joshua’s tailor-made for somebody with my style.
“I think it’s gonna be one of the most explosive, quickest fights you’re gonna see. I’m aiming to take him out inside four rounds.”
Joshua v Fury: What could scupper it?
One hurdle has been cleared in the shape of IBF mandatory challenger Pulev, who was most recently beaten by Joshua.
However, there are still further issues in the way.
Fury must resolve his situation with Deontay Wilder, who remains adamant that he is owed a trilogy fight from the ‘Gypsy King’.
The Brit’s team insist their contract has expired, but the ‘Bronze Bomber’ intends to take the issue to mediation/arbitration.
If this does happen, a retired judge will be assigned as mediator and will make a legally binding ruling on the matter.
Should they decide Fury does owe Wilder a third fight, then the AJ fight is scuppered for the time being.
But if the decision goes in Fury’s favour, then he will be free to face Joshua.
There is another potential hindrance in the way as well, though this one would not necessarily prevent the fight from happening.
In early 2021, Joshua will be obliged to fight WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk.
This could mean AJ is forced to vacate the WBO belt in order to face Fury, so their fight would no longer be for the ‘undisputed’ status.
There are other possible solutions to this issue within the complicated politics of boxing, but as things stand it remains a problem that needs to be solved.
Usyk has hinted he would be open to stepping aside to let Joshua face Fury as he could then get the shot at all of the heavyweight belts further down the line.
Joshua v Fury: Where could it happen?
British fans would clearly love the bout to be held in the UK with Wembley, Cardiff’s Principality Stadium and Tottenham’s new home the most likely candidates.
But money will be a determining factor in the superstar showdown, with Warren conceding to talkSPORT that the UK may miss out on hosting the event.
That could see the two clashes held in Las Vegas, New York, Saudi Arabia or even in Australia.
Vegas’ MGM Grand has held countless classics while the brand new Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Raiders, would also be more than suitable.
Madison Square Garden in NYC is also a possibility and the scene of Joshua’s only career defeat to Ruiz Jr.
Joshua avenged that loss at the Diriyah Arena with the Gulf States making major waves in the boxing world in recent years.
Hearn has offered some insight to when the fight could take place, saying: “You break them up into probably May, June, and then November, December [for the rematch].
“I think it’s about where and of course they’re two British heavyweight world champions, and if one of those fights at least didn’t take place in the UK it would be a shame.
“I know ultimately people think it’s my decision but it’s really not. We will take all the offers that will come from all around the world and present them to both teams and both fighters.
“Ultimately, normally, the biggest offer wins.”